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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
1.2. Consent of States

Cf. also: Jurisdiction and Third States

¤ Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute
(El Salvador/Honduras: Nicaragua intervening),
Judgment of 11 September 1992,
I.C.J. Reports 1992, p. 351

[p. 585] 378. ... Since the jurisdiction of the Chamber, as of the Court, depends upon the consent of the Parties, it follows that it has no jurisdiction to effect any such delimitation. It is true that, as Honduras observes, States may and do draft definitions of disputes to be submitted to a settlement procedure in terms which will avoid any clear surrender of the legal position of either of them. In the present case the Parties have reserved their legal positions in this way on the question whether the legal situation of the waters of the Gulf is such as to require or permit a delimitation; that will be a question for the Chamber to decide. But there can be no such reservation of the question of what the jurisdiction of the tribunal to be seised of the dispute will be, since it is only from the meeting of minds on that point that jurisdiction is created. Honduras in effect interprets the Special Agreement to mean that the Parties intended that the Chamber should decide for itself whether it has jurisdiction to delimit the maritime spaces; but a positive decision to that effect could only be based on the consent of both Parties to a judicial delimitation, which, on Honduras's own argument, is lacking. The Chamber concludes that there was agreement between the Parties, expressed in Article 2, paragraph 2, of the Special Agreement, that the Chamber should determine the legal situation of the maritime spaces, but that this agreement did not extend to delimitation of those spaces, as part of that operation.